Dads take on school’s honey-do list

Volunteer Day gets fathers to paint, clean and garden
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Valley View had some added help to spruce up the campus last Thursday.
The elementary school held its first Dad’s Volunteer Day, bringing fathers back to school for a morning of checking off honey-do lists. Dads completed tasks such as cleaning, gardening and painting in their donated DVD T-shirts from 9 a.m. to noon.
Diana Ruslin, Valley View Parent Teacher Club president, said the event came at a prime time, especially with education hit hard with budget cuts. She said she thought it would be a good way to give the campus a little sparkle before the end of the school year.
“Sixty dads can do a lot in three hours,” Ruslin said.
With the success of the first year, Bob Walatka, Valley View parent and spearhead of the event, said he hopes it becomes an annual affair.
“You just ask these dads and they’re happy to do it,” Walatka said. “They jumped right in painting doors, planting trees, picking up trash.”
Many of the dads said the day’s success was due in part to the community involvement at Valley View.
“There is a great deal of parent involvement. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it,” Walatka said.
PTC funds helped pay for some of the equipment needed for the clean up like spray paint and plants, but many of the tools were already on campus, Walatka said.
On one side of the campus, fathers were busy repainting the bathroom doors and railings outside of the multipurpose room, while dads on the other side of Valley View were doing yard work in the school’s garden. Classes had raised garden beds full of flowers, plants and garden décor. A couple classes are in the process of growing a salsa garden full of tomatoes, onion, cilantro and hot pepper plants.
Rick Jordan, the father of two Valley View students, was supervising the garden area, where dads were installing drip systems for newly-planted trees and cleaning up the grounds. Jordan said his help last week was all for the kids.
“The kids – the kids did all this,” Jordan said, pointing to the planted boxes. “I think it’s great for the kids to be involved. It’s just a big community.”
Michael Cadell was in charge of beautifying the campus with school colors. A blue wall was being decorated with sixth- grader handprints in yellow, with the children signing next to their hand.
Cadell said the students are always ecstatic to see dads on campus.
“It’s very exciting to have all these dads here,” said Chuck Kilbourne, Valley View principal.
Sixth-grader Robby Walatka, Bob Walatka’s son, said it was exciting having his dad on campus.
“He’s cool,” Robby said. “It is kind of cool knowing that people are coming to the school to help.”
But Henry Savage, Valley View’s lead custodian, may have been the most excited about the extra hands to help. Savage was in charge of letting fathers know which areas of the campus needed help and cleaning, he said.
“It’s awesome, this place is going to look good,” Savage said. “These guys pretty much knocked it out.”

For more photos: Dads complete honey-do lists at Valley View's first Dad's Volunteer Day

Placer Herald’s Lauren Weber can be reached at